Eight Challenges to the conservative Neo-Catholics of the Post Conciliar Church
By THOMAS E. WOODS, JR., Ph.D.
Most of the following (challenges) are drawn from the pages of The Great Façade. These are not necessarily the toughest challenges from the book by any means, but they are the ones that can be described most briefly.
1. Cardinal Walter Kasper, the John Paul II appointee who heads the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, openly admits that conciliar and post-conciliar ecumenism amounts to a rupture with the past, and says that Pope Pius XI's "ecumenism of return" (by which non-Catholics are expected to return to unity with the Catholic Church by becoming Catholics) "no longer applies after Vatican II." "Today," he says, "we no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of a return, by which the others would 'be converted' and return to being 'catholics.' This was expressly abandoned by Vatican II." On another occasion, he explained: "The old concept of the ecumenism of return has today been replaced by that of a common journey which directs Christians toward the goal of ecclesial communion understood as unity in reconciled diversity."
Challenge: Defend this.
2. Number 2 is related to number 1. This head of a pontifical council, appointed to that position and named a cardinal by Pope John Paul II, cites Vatican II in support of his position that conversion is not the goal of ecumenism.
Challenge: Since John Paul II is committed to the systematic implementation of Vatican II, why would he appoint a man to head the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity unless he shared Vatican II's outlook? Might Cardinal Kasper's view, in fact, actually be the one promoted by Vatican II? If not, how could a man of Kasper's background and education make such an elementary error in conciliar interpretation, and why has John Paul not corrected him? Are the texts of the Council completely blameless in all of this? Are traditionalists doing damage to the Church by demanding answers to these questions, or is Cardinal Kasper doing damage to the Church by abandoning Catholic teaching?
3. The Fraternity of St. Peter is a society of pontifical right established in 1988 for priests who wished to offer the traditional Latin Mass. No one questions the doctrinal orthodoxy of its priests. Yet two and a half years ago they had two perfectly orthodox seminary rectors removed and their election of their superior overturned by the Vatican.
Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos promised in June 2000 "that the papal Commission [Ecclesia Dei] will be more present, from now on, in the seminaries and the other houses of the Fraternity, and will watch attentively for their good behavior. It may also happen that the Ecclesia Dei Commission will intervene again, should it become necessary."
Did the Vatican "watch attentively" over the past forty years for "good behavior" at all the Novus Ordo seminaries that were becoming infested with homosexuals, whose criminal acts are currently bringing ruin and disgrace to diocese after diocese throughout the world? Meanwhile, the Jesuits and the Dominicans, whose orders have become sewers of heresy and scandal, have been left alone.
Challenge: Explain these priorities.
4. Active in dioceses throughout the world, the "neo-Catechumenal Way," a
Judaized, semi-gnostic, intra-ecclesial sect, conducts private, closed-door
Saturday night "liturgies" which have been dispensed from all compliance with
even the absurdly liberalized liturgical laws of the Novus Ordo. The neo-liturgy
of this sect has no Offertory, and the congregation dances the horah
around the altar-table before consuming a Host the size and consistency of a
personal pan pizza, which tends to crumble and leave fragments all over the
floor. The sect's lay founders, Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez, who exhibit
a shocking familiarity with the Pope, have concocted a neo-catechism in which
the movement's adherents are trained to varying levels of gnostic initiation
into the thinking of Kiko and Carmen. This "catechism" is rife with heterodoxy,
including the proposition that the Church went astray after the eighth century
and became obscured by an accretion of unnecessary customs and structures -
precisely what the Protestants say -until its essence was freed again by Vatican
II. The sect is armed with a letter of commendation from the Pope himself -
which is, sad to say, quite authentic.
The Pope has repeatedly praised this "ecclesial movement" as one of the "fruits of Vatican II."
Challenge: Defend this. Or, alternatively, provide persuasive grounds for believing that any pre-conciliar pope would have viewed this organization with anything other than horrified disbelief.
5. The constant teaching of the Church is that the New Covenant supersedes the Old, but Cardinal Walter Kasper, speaking in his capacity as the papally appointed President of the Pontifical Council for Religious Relations with the Jews, declared that "the old theory of substitution is gone since the Second Vatican Council. For us Christians today the covenant with the Jewish people is a living heritage, a living reality…. Therefore, the Church believes that Judaism, i.e. the faithful response of the Jewish people to God's irrevocable covenant, is salvific for them, because God is faithful to his promises."
On Christmas night 1998, John Cardinal O'Connor appeared on Nightline along with a young Catholic man who was converting to Judaism. Asked if the young man had Cardinal O'Connor's blessing, His Eminence replied: "Oh yes. Oh yes. He doesn't need it, but he has my blessing, if we're going to call it such, because that's what the Church teaches…. I would be keenly disappointed if there are Christians, and most particularly Catholics, who watch this at Christmas time and have animosity towards Stephen, towards what has happened. If they want to have animosity, I'd rather they have it toward me…. If they want to consider me wrong, that's fine. But I think that he is happy in his choice. I think that his mother is peaceful in his choice, and I think God is smiling on the whole thing."
In late 2001, the Pontifical Biblical Commission released a book entitled The Jewish People and the Holy Scriptures in the Christian Bible, according to which the Jews' continued wait for the Messiah is validated and justified by the Old Testament. According to papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, speaking at a Vatican press conference, "It means it would be wrong for a Catholic to wait for the Messiah, but not for a Jew."
The Good Friday liturgy was altered in 1974 in such a way that the previous prayer's supplication that the Jews be converted to Christ was almost completely obscured.
The recent statement of the American bishops disavowing any missionary intent toward the Jews, and which was never corrected by Rome, hardly needs mentioning.
Challenge A: Show how any of this conforms to traditional Catholic teaching.
Challenge B: Who is damaging the Church: the traditionalists stunned at these examples of cowardice and infidelity, or these churchmen themselves, who in effect withhold the means of salvation from an entire group of people, and who thereby alienate huge numbers of conservative Protestants who know apostasy when they see it?
6. Roger Cardinal Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles - the largest archdiocese in the United States - is a scandal in himself. His "vocations" office weeds out potentially sane candidates by asking their position on the ordination of women and making their decision on that basis. (Hint: they're in favor.) He is almost immeasurably more sympathetic to homosexual Catholics than he is to those who want to attend the traditional Mass. He spent nearly $200 million on a "cathedral" that constitutes an outright assault on the Catholic faith, and he has all but repudiated transubstantiation in a pastoral letter on the liturgy. He is deeply implicated in covering up for and promoting sexual deviants and criminals.
Challenge: Why is such a man not rebuked in any way - and, to the contrary, greeted with a warm letter of papal esteem on the occasion of the opening of his alleged cathedral (also praised by the Pope)? Before answering that "collegiality" and ecclesiastical decentralization must be observed, be prepared to explain why the mere procedural norm of collegiality is more important than the countless souls who will almost certainly be lost as a direct result of Cardinal Mahony's tenure.
7. Garry Wills, now a well-known dissenter, in his recent book Why I Am a Catholic, has almost nothing kind to say about the Church, but he positively adores the Second Vatican Council. For that matter, so do all "progressives."
Challenge: Why is that?
8. Why do James Likoudis and CUF remain silent about all of these scandals, thereby allowing them to continue taking their course, but accuse traditionalists of "damaging the Church" for simply pointing out what is going on?